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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How I Do My Illustrations

I wanted to just write up a quick post about my artistic process, I get asked a lot how do I do some of my drawings from start to finish.  So here is a little insight into how I do my illustrations.  First off I don’t have a home office and I find being at home can be distracting with my dogs and just my general OCD so for me leaving the house is important.  I am a big fan of Starbucks because of the atmosphere, and free Wi-Fi.

So This is what I start with…



…I have my coffee (Tall White Mocha), my Cat-shaped Pencil case, my sketchbook which I always collage over, and my headphones for music.  Music is super important to me and I realized I listen to different types of music depending on what part of the artistic process I am in.  More of that to come.  Next we move on to the artistic equipment…



This is all I ever use when it comes to drawing.  I have my blue mechanical pencil.  I have had this one pencil for over 10 years I have no idea what brand it is because I have rubbed the name on it LONG ago but I only draw with this pencil.  I love the Staedtler erasers because they never smudge.  All my outlining is done with a traditional black Sharpie and all my line work is done with a Micron 05, this pen I have to replace regularly to keep my lines crisp.

Now on to the drawings.  When I start drawing I normally need music to get me in the proper mind-set and mood.  Normally I listen to slower music and stuff that might be a little sappy to get me introspective.  For this drawing I knew I wanted to do some sort of Oregon Ducks Basketball image. 
So generally I general do Google searches to find some kind of source image to mimic for my drawing.  That’s when I found this…



I knew I wanted an image from below so that is why i choose this lobster mascot thing.  From here I normally get a kind of hipster music going, two of my favorite songs for the “sketch phase” are ’Where is My Mind’ by the Pixies and ‘Time Won’t Let Me Go’ by The Bravery.  Once the music is on I start roughing out the drawing…



…This is where I try and place all the elements like the body layout of The Duck and the Huskies mascot he is dunking on.  Sometimes this process can take a while to try and get basic proportions set.  Once I am happy with the layout I go back in and start defining all the elements in the drawing…



…this is kind of like connect the dots.  Nothing is ever set in stone but you can really start to tell in this phase if you got something wrong.  A great trick is to turn the drawing upside down.  When it’s upside down your eye knows how it should look and sometimes you can see glaring mistakes that your brain overlooked or over thought.  For example the ‘0’ on the back of the Huskies jersey, I realized it wasn’t at the best angle, a change you will see further down the inking process.  So once you have the drawing then you move on to the inking.

In the inking process I get very serious and generally I get really annoyed when kids are running around my table or threaten to bump my elbow and mess up my lines.  So now I get into more serious music, three of my favorite songs are ‘Survival of the Fittest’ by Mobb Deep, ‘1987’ by XV and ‘The Prayer’ by Kid Cudi.  Then I start inking…



…when inking I think its important to start with the top or closest part of the image to the viewer, in this case it’s the head of the Husky, because the head is ‘in front’ of every other element in the picture.  Then I work my way down, to the husky jersey, arm, then Duck head then Duck body.  When I ink I spin the drawing a lot to get the best angle to make each line, and this is where I decided to change the back of the Husky Jersey…



Now I have the drawing inked, some people might finish it here, but I like to add the coloring book style boarder around the outside edge of the drawing.  This is where I love to get upbeat music.  Two of my favorite songs to listen to are ’Freaks and Geeks’ by Childish Gambino and ‘All of the Lights’ by Kanye West…



…How as you ink with the Sharpie you need to make sure to have multiple pieces of paper under your drawing to soak up the ink that bleeds from a heavy ink pen like a Sharpie.  As you “ink” you will notice there are some harder spots to get to like this by the Huskies tail…



Don’t worry about these “pockets” where the angle is too sharp to get the Sharpie into, or the tips that become rounded and not crisp points.  When I am done inking I will come back with my Micron pen like this…



And fill in the holes and make the points crisp.  Once you have done that I go over the drawing with the eraser to get rid of all the pencil lines.  Do note, that if you erase over the Micron too much it will make the lines light and they will look un-crisp.  Here is the drawing with the inking finished…



As you can see I screwed up the basketball, I flattened the top part of the ball when I was using the sharpie.  This isn’t the end of the world, because I do my ‘coloring’ in Photoshop.  Here is the final image after coloring in Photoshop…



…I don’t use any crazy tricks on my work just the ‘Paint bucket” and the “Gradient” tool. And I used the "Shape Tool" to make the round basketball behind the ducks head.  I also rotated the image slightly so the Duck is slightly more over Harry The Husky.  But like I said, I enjoy more of the drawing side of things than the coloring.

I hope this helps some of you when trying to get from idea to finished drawing.  This drawing from concept to final inking took me about an hour and a half.  I like to take my time, but when it comes to the color I don’t enjoy it too much so normally it takes me about 15min from scanning it into my PC to saving it to my flash drive.   

Hope you enjoyed the semi-tutorial!

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